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IELTS Writing Tips: 10 Sentences to Avoid for a High Score

Discover 10 sentence types to avoid for a high IELTS writing score. From avoiding clichés to using active voice, improve your essay writing with these tips.


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) writing test is a crucial component for individuals aspiring to study or work abroad. This test assesses your ability to effectively communicate in English through two tasks: Task 1, where you analyze graphical data, and Task 2, where you write an essay. In both tasks, variety and precision in language play a vital role in achieving a high score. To help you succeed, we will explore 10 common sentence types that you should avoid while writing your IELTS essay.

1. Overly Simplistic Sentences

The Perils of Basic Structures

Using simple sentence structures throughout your essay can limit your writing and hinder your chances of scoring well. Avoid sentences such as, “I think English is important.” Instead, strive for complexity and sophistication by incorporating more intricate sentence structures. For example, “The significance of the English language cannot be overstated, as it pervades various socio-cultural facets globally.”

2. Redundant Phrases and Tautologies

Removing Unnecessary Repetition

Repeating the same information using different words can make your writing verbose and less impactful. Phrases like “end result” or “absolutely certain” are examples of redundant expressions that should be avoided. Embrace conciseness by eliminating unnecessary repetition, allowing your ideas to shine through with precision and clarity.

3. Overuse of Personal Opinions

Maintaining Academic Formality

While your personal opinions are essential in some types of essays, in the IELTS task, it is crucial to strike a balance between expressing your perspective and maintaining a formal, academic tone. Avoid sentences like “I strongly believe that…” or “In my opinion…”. Instead, present your arguments objectively, supported by facts, evidence, or authoritative sources.

4. Clichés and Overused Idioms

Originality in Expression

Using clichés and overused idioms can make your writing appear unoriginal and lackluster. Phrases such as “in a nutshell” or “a piece of cake” have lost their impact due to frequent usage. Instead, aim for fresh and unique expression by crafting original sentences that engage the reader and highlight your language proficiency.

5. Excessive Use of Passive Voice

Active Voice for Clarity and Effectiveness

Overusing the passive voice can lead to ambiguity and convoluted sentences. Identify and revise passive constructions that make your writing less clear and concise. Instead of “Mistakes were made,” opt for the active voice in sentences like “We made mistakes,” which conveys a clearer message and enhances the overall effectiveness of your writing.

6. Sentences with Ambiguous Pronouns

Ensuring Pronoun Clarity

Ambiguous pronouns can confuse readers and disrupt the flow of your essay. Avoid sentences like “He gave her a book, and it made her happy.” Clearly identify the antecedent and use specific nouns or pronouns to ensure precise and unambiguous references.

7. Run-On Sentences and Comma Splices

Mastering Sentence Structure

Run-on sentences and comma splices hinder comprehension and readability. Identify and correct run-on sentences by breaking them into shorter, more coherent sentences or using appropriate conjunctions. Effective punctuation usage in separating ideas is crucial for conveying your arguments clearly.

8. Faulty Parallelism

Achieving Structural Balance

Parallelism errors can disrupt the rhythm and readability of your essay. Avoid sentences like “She likes reading, writing, and to sing.” Instead, revise the sentence to “She likes reading, writing, and singing,” where the verb forms are consistent. Maintaining parallelism ensures that your writing flows smoothly and engages the reader effortlessly.

9. Misuse of Transitions and Connectives

Crafting Logical Connections

Effective use of transitions and connectives is vital for creating logical connections between sentences and ideas. Incorrect or ineffective usage can lead to disconnected, fragmented writing. Choose appropriate transitional phrases that seamlessly guide your reader through the progression of your arguments, ensuring a coherent and well-structured essay.

10. Overcomplicating Sentences

Simplicity and Precision

While linguistic complexity is important, excessively complex sentences can lead to confusion and detract from the clarity of your essay. Avoid needlessly complicated sentence structures to prevent weakening the impact of your ideas. Simplicity and precision in language will enable both native and non-native English speakers to understand your arguments effortlessly.


By steering clear of these 10 sentence types, you can enhance the quality of your IELTS writing and aim for a higher score. It’s essential to practice and continuously improve your writing skills to excel in the exam. Remember, clarity, precision, and variety in language are key elements to impressing examiners and achieving your desired IELTS score.

We invite you to explore more IELTS resources and writing exercises on our blog. If you have any personal writing struggles or success stories, please share them in the comments below. Good luck with your IELTS preparation and studying abroad endeavors.